When I was a kid, the nuns at my Catholic school didn't let us get through the Christmas season without taking great care in reminding us that Santa Claus was indeed real. He was called Saint Nicholas and he lived a very, very long time ago. But that was pretty much where the story ended. Or at least, that's all I really remember.
So imagine my surprise when my sister emailed me a link the other day detailing the origins of the real Santa Claus, or Saint Nicholas, and I discovered that he was from Turkey. Of course the region he was from, Demre, was culturally Greek and under Lycian rule at the time, but still. He was from Turkey.
Apparently there was a memorial erected in his birth town of Patara, and at the Church of Saint Nicholas, annual celebrations are held on December 6th, the special day dedicated to him.
Needless to say, we're already planning a road trip for next year.
For more information on good old St. Nick, you can find it here.